British Columbia’s 2021 wildfire season is in the process of winding down. The B.C. 2021 wildfire season to date has burned an area of 8,680 square kilometers (3,352 square miles) and ranks as the third highest on record but is only 61% of the all-time high reached just 3-years ago. In 2018, a total area of 13,542 square kilometers (5,229 square miles) burned and that surpassed the previous high record set in 2017 of 12,160 square kilometers (4,695 square miles).
According to B.C. Wildfire Service statistics up to September 21, 2021, this year’s wildfire area is more than twice the 10-year average. With more than half of it being in the Kamloops fire district, with the Cariboo and Prince George regions second and third in the area impacted.
B.C.’s spending on wildfire control passed $500 million by September this year, approaching the 2017 total of $649 million and the 2018 expenditure of $615 million.
While visiting Logan Lake southwest of Kamloops in late August, B.C. Premier John Horgan said three severe forest fire seasons in the past five years have convinced him the provincial government has to shift its budget priorities to do more before summer fires get out of control. “I’ve seen enough,” Horgan said during his visit. “If we have resources at the front end of the year, B.C. Wildfire Service can retain people in the beginning of the year.”
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B.C.’s 2021 wildfire season winds down, third biggest in area burned